There is a lot to choose from this week in comic books. Bryan J.L. Glass (Mice Templar) and Victor Santos (Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters) are debuting their long-awaited book Furious. Four separate Bat books are dropping this week in Batman and Robin‘s annual, Batman: The Dark Knight, Beware the Batman, and Damian: Son of Batman. X-Men: Legacy is headed towards a conclusion and The Guardians Of The Galaxy meet the X-Men in an All-New Marvel NOW! cross-over. As far as Image goes, Andy Diggle is wrapping up his run in Thief of Thieves, Five Weapons returns for it’s second arc, and a life hangs in the balance in a brand-new Invincible. While those books did not make our list, this week, Image Comics did in fact dominate our selections.
Having said that, let us now get to the five books that made the cut and whether or not they are new-reader friendly:
1. “East of West #9”
Jonathan Hickman’s sprawling Western dystopia continues to fester in an issue that takes its time. There is a build-up happening, as we have seen in the last several issues, and we get to meet the royal family of The Kingdom.
While this series didn’t get the critical acclaim that Sex Criminals or Saga got during last year’s “in review” hype, it has demonstrated month after month that it is the comic book equivalent of a punch to the gut. Even when this book is making light contact, the impact feels like a home run. There truly is a velocity and depth to this book that should not be missed by anyone looking for something to knock their socks off.
2. “Black Science #3”
Last year was a powder keg for Image Comics and right towards the end of 2013, we were hit in the face with “Black Science #1.” Rick Remender has done some of his best and most iconic work in the genre of science fiction. Fear Agent is basically the stylistic and tonal cousin of this book and 2014 signals the debut of his new book Low.
What we have been shown so far is the ongoing exploits of a science team that has totally crossed the ethical line. The grey area is far behind them. What this series does at its best is pulpy, and it is violent. Sure, there is science involved here. But mostly there are a lot of ray guns and battles between warring peoples.
If you haven’t picked this book up yet, you’ll have to hope you can get your hands on the first and second issues. This book does not hold your hand, and it does not stop to explain anything. You’ll need to know what you’re getting into before you can crack this one open. But, wow, does this book keep things moving.
3. “Revival #17”
For the better part of two years, this book has given readers a new twist on the zombie tale. While other books like The Walking Dead and Crossed have focused on the depths of depravity that human beings are capable of reaching, once the end finally does come, Revival has chosen the path of the slow burn.
We get to see how one small community deals with the idea of their dead coming back to life and what that does to them on a whole. What we also have mixed in this story is an interesting bit of conspiracy and religious zealotry, so this book can not help but stand out.
It must be said about this book: all of the best characters are women. In a world where the comic book industry can not help but constantly discuss the role of women in the medium, Revival is the exception to the rule.
For new readers, this does make for a good jumping on point. But, for the most part, every issue is OK to jump into because of the summary page in the front of each release.
4. “Saga #18”
At this point, it is no unique insight of mine to tell you that this is far and away the most critically acclaimed book of the last few years. Between the space operatics, the instantly captivating relationships, and characters that you cannot help but love, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have given us all something to behold.
What is the conclusion to a story arc actually feels like the end of one gigantic first act—one that took eighteen issues to play out. If this is any way to measure the potential length of time this book could go on, we have at least a few years to go before this is all said and done. New readers would be wise to stray away from this issue unless you do not mind spoilers the size of the Grand Canyon. The next issue, however, might be a better starting point.
5. “Serenity Leaves on the Wind #1”
The ongoing Firefly epic continues in the debut of a new book penned by Zack Whedon. It is usually a safe bet to say that when in the capable hands of the Whedon family, you are going to get your money’s worth. With the even more enticing proposition of introducing a new pilot, you should be even more excited than you already were.
What we know is this story starts where Malcolm Reynolds left off. What we do not know is how the surviving members of the crew and their new captain will get along. Or what faces them in the pages ahead. Fans of the long-cancelled show will obviously want to check this out. But it might be worth your time if you’re a new fan, too. A base knowledge of the story helps. But again, in the hands of this writer, you shouldn’t have any problems starting here.
This week is all about science fiction. Zombies could technically be considered science fiction, right? Sure. Let’s say they are and agree with what I just said. Cool? Cool. From a futuristic dystopia, an on-the-brink science team, everyone’s favorite star-crossed lovers, zombies in the Midwest, and a new addition to the Firefly canon, it is time to set your phasers to buy. (Sorry.)
Thanks for checking out ADVANCE SCOUT! Be sure to check back next week for more recommendations, and don’t forget to share the link below!
Mike Sains is a Staff Writer at Capeless Crusader. When he isn’t writing, he’s podcasting at various places online. When he isn’t podcasting, he’s collecting comic books, FunkoPop! figures, and vinyl records. You can hear him on Geek Girls, Nerd Boys, The Tower of Sour, and The Inverse Delirium, all available on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSains.